Service Tips

State Employee Recognition Week Tips

Recognition is a powerful motivator, and it contributes to higher employee morale, increases organizational productivity, and aids in recruitment and retention.

State Employee Recognition Week is an opportunity to show appreciation to your employees for their dedication to public service. State Employee Recognition Day is also an excellent time to spotlight the achievements and contributions of state employees in the workplace and in our communities. The image of state employees is strengthened when citizens see people they know, who happen to be state employees, working to better their communities. Publicizing the good things state employees are doing can go a long way in educating the public and making employees feel appreciated and valued.

This State Employee Recognition Week Guide provides specific information on preparing for and implementing the day in your agency. Planning early allows you to take an active role in recognizing those who do a great job for your agency and your customers every day!

In a time when budgets are tight, special activities may seem too expensive, but there are several low cost, no cost activities that agencies can do. Included in this packet are recognition ideas that can be tailored to all situations and needs, so feel free to use the ones that suit your agency’s celebration.

National Severe Weather Preparedness Week

PreparednessMonth

Last year, there were seven weather and climate disaster events across the United States with losses exceeding $1 billion each. These events included five severe weather and tornado events, a major flood event, and the western drought/heat wave. Overall, these events killed 109 people and had significant economic effects on the areas impacted.

All of these events highlight the need for emergency preparation — highlighted by events like the National Severe Weather Preparedness Week, which runs from March 2-8, 2014.

Being prepared for severe weather hazards does not have to be complicated or expensive. A few simple steps to prepare and take action could help save lives anywhere – at home, in schools, and in the workplace before tornadoes and severe thunderstorms and extreme weather strikes.

Know your risk. Take action.
Severe weather knows no boundaries and affects every individual. Being prepared and acting quickly could be a matter of survival. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) have the responsibility of handling Federal and State emergency events. Ready Georgia,  GEMA’s statewide emergency preparedness campaign, offers tools that residents can use to create an emergency supply kit, develop a communications plan and stay informed about potential threats. Ready Georgia’s interactive website, www.ready.ga.gov, provides detailed information on Georgia-specific emergency preparedness and allows users to create a personal profile and receive a customized checklist and family communications plan.

Employers can use the Ready Your Business guide to create custom contingency plans, and children can visit the ReadyKids page for age-appropriate information, videos and games. For preparedness on the go, families can also download Ready Georgia’s free mobile app at http://www.ready.ga.gov/mobileapp to learn how to prepare for emergencies, create family communications plans and more.

Have you prepared an emergency plan for your home and your agency location? If so, is it up to date?  More than half the households in the United States have no emergency plan. GEMA and FEMA offer a lot of information to help develop a plan on how to deal with emergencies.

Ready.GA.gov offers some of the following guidelines for homes:

  • Supply Checklist for Severe Weather emergencies
    • Do you have a stored water supply of at least 3 gallons per day per person?
    • Do you have a 3 day Non-Perishable food supply for your family?
    • Do you have a manual can opener, batteries, flashlights and a NOAA alert radio?
    • Do you have a fully stocked First Aid kit?
    • Are you prepared for a cold weather emergency if the power goes out?
  • Fire & Medical emergency preparation for your location or home:
    • Are there two ways out of your home or office?
    • Have you established a meeting point once you have evacuated?
    • Do you have a First Aid kit?  Are Emergency numbers posted?
    • Do you know who has First Aid training at your location?
  • Flooding preparation:
    • Do you know what items you want to take with you during an evacuation?
    • Do you have emergency contact numbers in case roads are flooded in your area or at your location?

Of course these are the short list of items.  A few minutes of preparation can save a life or make you far more comfortable in case of an emergency situation.

How to prevent your pipes from freezing

The state of Georgia has been hit with unusually cold weather this year. In the month of January, temperatures frequently dropped below freezing. Nationally, people have referred to this as the “polar vortex,” a particularly cold weather front which has caused bitter low temperatures throughout the East coast. Such cold is not only unpleasant, but also potentially dangerous.

In the month of January alone, more than $75 million worth of property damage in the state of Georgia has been attributed to the brutally cold temperatures. Extremely cold temperatures like the ones Georgia has seen over the last month can cause internal damage to property, often in the form of water damage caused by leaking or burst pipes. As many as 34 of Georgia’s state facilities reported damage caused by burst pipes after the January 28, 2014 winter storm rolled through.

The Georgia Department of Administrative Services’ Risk Management division has several suggestions on how to deal with the cold weather and effectively protect property from damage:

  • Temperatures under 20 degrees are considered “threatening,” and you should begin exercising caution when temperatures drop to or below this level
  • Pipes located in attics, crawl spaces, and outside walls are most susceptible to freezing temperatures, and should be monitored carefully during cold times
  • Pipes located near electrical outlets often have much more cold air flowing towards them
  • When building a new house or construction, pipes should ideally only be placed near warm spaces, and should be kept away from “attics, crawl spaces, and outside walls.”
  • A plumber can potentially re-route pipes and place them near warmer areas, which is an especially appealing option in older houses or facilities
  • If pipes cannot be moved, you can place more insulation onto them to protect them. Different forms of pipe insulation can be bought at most hardware stores
  • If pipes are exposed to cold air through any holes in the walls, these holes should be filled up and protected as best as possible
  • Turning on a faucet during extremely cold times can help break the pressure that pipes have. Even just allowing the faucet to drip a small bit can prevent the pipe from bursting.
  • If a pipe has already burst, it is important to call a plumber and to immediately turn off the water flow at the main water valve.
  • For those going on vacation or leaving their homes, it is important to keep your house at a moderate temperature. If a house is too cold, it may be more susceptible to freezing pipes.

And remember to take care of yourself as well as your property when the temperature drops below freezing!